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DESTINY IN HELLENISMOS

MÍRA, PÆPROHMǼNI AND EIMARMǼNI
ΜΟΙΡΑ, ΠΕΠΡΩΜΕΝΗ, ΕΙΜΑΡΜΕΝΗ

Irákleitos (Heraclitus; Gr. Ἡράκλειτος): 
ἦθος ἀνθρώπῳ δαίμων 
"A man's character is his fate."

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Zefs and Destiny in Hellenismos

Destiny or Fate is under the dominion of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς), who is called by his epithet Ýpatos (Gr. Ὕπατος), supreme and highest; therefore, to understand Destiny, which is under the control of the highest deity, is most important in Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. This idea is well expressed by the words of Akhilléfs (Achilles; Gr. χιλλεύς) to King Príamos (Priam; Gr. Πρίαμος) of Troy from the Iliás (Iliad; Gr.  λιάς) of Ómiros (Homer; Gr. μηρος):

"For two urns are set on Zeus' floor of gifts that he gives, the one of ills, the other of blessings. To whomever Zeus, who hurls the thunderbolt, gives a mixed lot, that man meets now with evil, now with good; but to whomever he gives only of the baneful, him he makes to be degraded by man, and evil madness drives him over the face of the sacred earth, and he wanders honored neither by Gods nor by mortals. So too did the Gods give glorious gifts to Peleus from his birth; for he excelled all men in wealth and substance, and was king over the Myrmidons, and to him who was but a mortal the Gods gave a Goddess to be his wife. But even on him a God brought evil, in that there sprang up in his halls no offspring of princely sons, but he begot only one son, doomed to an untimely fate." [1]

The Orphic hymn To the Fates states that destiny is known only to Zefs and the Mírai (Moirai or Moerae; Gr. Μοῖραι), even the other deathless Gods do not know it.

"In life Fate alone watches; the other Immortals
who dwell on the peaks of snowy Olympos do not,
except for Zeus' perfect eye.  But Fate and Zeus' mind
know all things for all time." [2]

That destiny is known to Zefs should not be confused with the Augustinian and Calvinist Christian ideas concerning predestination. In our religion, the concept of "damnation" is nonsensical. The souls of all beings consist of the same substance as that of the Gods and, therefore, partake in their goodness. The concern of Zefs is the progress of souls and the harmonic concordance of the Kózmos (Cosmos; Gr. Κόσμος); he is not choosing who is to be saved and who is to be doomed, but, rather, he is affecting the best possible life such that we can progress, regardless as to how that life may appear to us. Also, as outlined below, we have a role in our own destiny and we partake with considerable freedom.

The concept of Destiny in Ællinismόs has aspects that bear some similarity to the Buddhist or Hindu idea of karma, yet there are subtleties which make the Greek conception a bit different, more nuanced and complete. 

There are three Hellenic words, each of which can be translated as Destiny, but each of these words has a specific meaning: 


The Three Pillars of Destiny 

1) AnángkiKhrónosand Míra  

Míra (Moira; Gr. Μοίρα) is defined as degree, like the degrees of a circle, one's current position in destiny. Míra is a common word meaning part or portion. Therefore, Míra is one's allotted part or portion of life; it is where we sit in relationship to the whole.

Míra is controlled by Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) who in this role is known by the epithet Mirayǽtis (Moiragetes; Gr. Μοιραγέτης). It is in this role that Zefs knows the affairs of mortals, what is or is not fated to them. 

Zefs Mirayǽtis has dominion over Míra in partnership with the Mírai (Moirai or Moerae; Gr. Μοῖραι), the Fates, Goddesses who control destiny. The Mírai are the daughters of Anángki (Anangke; Gr. Ἀνάγκη) [3]. Anángki is Necessity, the most powerful force of the Kózmos. Anángki is in partnership with Khrónos (Chronus; Gr. Χρόνος) who is Time and is sometimes called her father. They are depicted in iconography as a snake wrapped around the Kózmic Egg, which is symbolic of the whole of creation. It should be evident from their titles alone that we are dealing with vast primordial powers inherent in the universe. 

The partnership of the Mírai with Zefs is entirely dependent on his will: he is their leader; he presides over them and, if he chooses, he can reverse or rescue a mortal from his destiny. Being direct minions of Zefs, the Mírai have oracular ability necessary for their function: they know future events.

The Mírai are known in English as the Fates. They are:
 
Lákhæsis (Lachesis; Gr. Λάχεσις [Latin: Decuma]) 
Klohthóh (Clotho; Gr. Κλωθώ [Latin: Nona])
Átropos (Gr. Ἄτροπος [Latin: Morta])

In his Thæogonía (Theogony; Gr. Θεογονία), Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. Ἡσίοδος) says that the Mírai are the daughters of Zefs and Thǽmis (Themis; Gr. Θέμις) [4], but earlier in the poem he calls them the daughters of Nyx (Gr. Νύξ) with no father [5]. The Orphic hymn to the Mírai calls them daughters of Nyx [6].

Lákhæsis is the Apportioner who measures the thread out of life for each person. Klohthóh is the Spinner who spins the thread of life. Átropos the Inflexible is generally regarded as she who cuts the thread, i.e. death. Thus, the Mírai are Goddesses intimately involved with birth, the duration of life, and death.

"The saying that Lachesis or the giver of the lots is the first of them, and that Clotho or the spinster is the second of them, and that Atropos or the unchanging one is the third of them; and that she is the preserver of the things which we have spoken, and which have been compared in a figure to things woven by fire, the both (i.e. Atropos and the fire) producing the quality of unchangeableness. I am speaking of the things which in a state and government give not only health and salvation to the body, but law, or rather preservation of the law, in the soul..." [7]

Also included as one of the Mírai is Týkhi (Tyche; Gr. Τύχη) [7], the Goddess of chance and fortune:

"Approach strong Fortune, with propitious mind
And rich abundance, to my pray'r inclin'd:
Placid, and gentle Trivia, mighty nam'd,
Imperial Dian, born of Pluto fam'd;
Mankind's unconquer'd, endless praise is thine,
Sepulch'ral, widely-wand'ring pow'r divine!
In thee, our various mortal life is found,
And some from thee in copious wealth abound;
While others mourn thy hand averse to bless,
In all the bitterness of deep distress.
Be present, Goddess, to thy vot'ry kind,
And give abundance with benignant mind." [8]

She is referred to by Píndaros (Pindar; Gr. Πίνδαρος) as a daughter of Zefs the Liberator. Týkhi is represented as guiding the affairs of the world. 

"Daughter of Zeus the Deliverer (Gr. Ælefthæréfs, i.e. 'he who frees')! thou saving Goddess, Fortune! I pray thee to keep watch around Himera (ed. an ancient city of Sicily); for, at thy bidding, swift ships are steered upon the sea, and speedy decisions of war and counsels of the people are guided on the land. Verily, the hopes of men are tossed, now high, now low, as they cleave the treacherous sea of fancies vain. But never yet hath any man on earth found a sure token sent from heaven to tell him how he shall fare in the future, but warnings of events to come are wrapped in gloom." [9]

There is yet another aspect of Míra, the brother of the Mírai who is known as Móros (Gr. Μόρος, ΜΟΡΟΣ). 
Isíodos, in Thæogonía calls him a son of Nyx, with no father mentioned, and he describes his sister and brother as types of death:

"And Night (Νὺξ) bare hateful Doom (Μόρος) and black Fate (ed. the Goddess Κήρ, violent death) and Death (Θάνατος; ed. a more natural death [?])..." [10]

M
óros is called Doom, and he seems to be the destiny of one's death, or perhaps, simply one's destiny, which may be difficult for one to accept, but, according to Aiskhýlos (Aeschylus; Gr. Αἰσχύλος), the mighty Titán (Gr. Τιτάν) and great friend of mankind, Promithéfs (Prometheus; Gr. Προμηθεύς), provided for us a gentle gift:

Promithéfs: Through me mankind ceased to foresee death (ed. μόρος).
Leader of the Chorus: What remedy could heal that sad disease?
Promithéfs: Blind hopes I made to dwell in them.
Leader of the Chorus: O merciful boon for mortals. [11]


The following two aspects of Fate are similar to the oriental idea of karma, a word which simply means "action." Karma is a much misunderstood term; it simply refers to the cause and effect resulting from any action. The Greeks divide cause-and-effect into two, that referring to the effects resulting from past action, and that referring to one's current life and how one's actions effect the future:


2) Pæprohmǽni (Pepromene; Gr. Πεπρωμένη, ΠΕΠΡΩΜΕΝΗ) Pæprohmǽni refers to that which has already occurred and how it reflects on the present and the future.

3) Eimarmǽni (Heimarmene; Gr. Εἱμαρμένη, ΕΙΜΑΡΜΕΝΗ) Eimarmǽni is the path one takes in life, the choices one makes, and how this reflects on the future. The nature of Eimarmǽni allows for a certain flexibility in Míra, that our character, will, and actions have the ability, to some degree, to alter our Fate.



The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.



GLOSSARY OF DESTINY
(A list of abbreviations can be found at the bottom of this page: GLOSSARY HOME.)

Adrásteia - (Gr. Ἀδράστεια, ΑΔΡΑΣΤΕΙΑ) Adrásteia is the Nýmphi (Nymph; Gr. Νύμφη) given the secret task by Rǽa (Rhea; Gr. Ῥέα) to care for the newborn infant Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεὺς), deeply hidden from his father Krónos (Cronus; Gr. Κρόνος). Her name means inevitable and she is often equated with Nǽmæsis (Nemesis; Gr. Νέμεσις) who plays a role in Fate as the distribution of justice.

Aisa - (Aesa; Gr. Αἶσα, ΑΙΣΑ) similar if not identical to Μοῖρα, a share, portion. The dispenser of destiny. 

Anángki - (Ananke; Gr. Ἀνάγκη, ΑΝΑΓΚΗ) Anángki is the force of necessity or needAnángki is defined as the excess of inertia.

Eimarmǽni - (Imarmene; Gr. Ἐιμαρμένη, ΕΙΜΑΡΜΕΝΗ) Eimarmǽni is that aspect of destiny in which how we lead our present life affects the future. The word ἐιμαρμένη is a form of the word μείρομαι. See Meiromai.

Kairós - (caerus; Gr. καιρός, ΚΑΙΡΟΣ) Kairós is one of two ancient Greek words meaning time. The other word is khrónos (chronus; Gr. χρόνος). Khrónos is sequential time while kairós is the opportune time for action. Cf. Khrónos.

Khræóhn - (chreon; Gr. χρεών, ΧΡΕΩΝ. Noun.) necessity, destiny.

Khri - (chre; Gr. χρή, ΧΡΗ. Noun.) fate, destiny.

Khrónos - (chronus; Gr. χρόνος, ΧΡΟΝΟΣ) Khrónos is TimeKhrónos should not be confused with the Titan God Krónos (Cronus; Gr. Κρόνος) although it must be said that even in ancient literature the two are occasionally (it would at times seem deliberately) identified or equated with each other. Cf. Kairós.

Meiromai - (Gr. μείρομαι, ΜΕΙΡΟΜΑΙ. Verb.) to receive one's due portion

Míra - (Moira; Gr. Μοίρα, ΜΟΙΡΑ) Literally, lot, degree or portion
Míra is one's allotted portion in life, generally, the length and character of one's current life.

Mirayǽtis - (Moiragetes; Gr. Μοιραγέτης, ΜΟΙΡΑΓΕΤΗΣ) he who guides fate: Zeus, as the master of the Μοῖραι. Also of Apollo because he sits at the right hand of his father issuing the edicts of his will.

Miriyænís - (moiregenes; Gr. μοιρηγενής, ΜΟΙΡΗΓΕΝΗΣ) favored by fate at one's birth.

Mirókrantos - (moirocrantos; Gr. μοιρόκραντος, ΜΟΙΡΟΚΡΑΝΤΟΣ. Noun.) fated.

Miroloyǽoh - (moirologeo; Gr. μοιρολογέω, ΜΟΙΡΟΛΟΓΕΩ. Verb.) to reveal to someone his or her fate.
Móros - (Gr. μόρος, ΜΟΡΟΣ) Móros is doom, or one's fated death.

Mórsimos - (Gr. μόρσιμος, ΜΟΡΣΙΜΟΣ. Adjective.) appointed by fate, destined, doomed.

P
æprohmǽni - (Pepromene; Gr. Πεπρωμένη, ΠΕΠΡΩΜΕΝΗ. Also, personified. Etym. πόρω, "to give" or "fulfill." Modern Gr. Πεπρωμένο.) Pæprohmǽni is that aspect of destiny which is concerned with how the past effects one's current and future life. The word πεπρωμένη is a form of the word πόρω. See Póroh.

Pancrates - See Pangkratís.

Pangkratís - (pancrates; Gr. παγκρατής, ΠΑΓΚΡΑΤΗΣ. Adj.) all-powerful, epith. of many deities, of Zeus and Μοῖρα.

Póroh - (poro; Gr. πόρω, ΠΟΡΩ. Verb.) fateddestined. Póroh is the root of the word πεπρωμένη.

Pótmos - (Gr. πότμος, ΠΟΤΜΟΣ. Noun.) one's lot, one's destiny.



NOTES:
(A list of abbreviations can be found at the bottom of this page: GLOSSARY HOME.)

[1] Ómiros (Homer; Gr. μηρος) Iliás (Iliad; Gr.  λιάς) Book 24.525-540, trans. A. T. Murray 1925. We are using the 1999 reprint entitled Homer: Iliad II, Books 13-24, published by Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge, MA USA and London England UK), Loeb Classical Library LCL 171, where this quotation may be found on pp. 601-603.

[2] Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς) To the Mírai (Moirai or Moerae; Gr. Μοῖραι) Orphic Hymn 59.11-14. OH p. 81. OH = The Orphic Hymns, as translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis, 1977; published by Scholars Press for The Society of Biblical Literature (Atlanta, GA USA); we are using the 1988 reprint.

[3] Πλάτων Πολιτεία (The Republic) 617c.

[4] Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. ἩσίοδοςThæogonía (Theogonia; Gr. Θεογονία) 901-905: 

"Next he (ed. Zefs) married bright Themis who bare the Horai (Hours), and Eunomia (Order), Dike (Justice), and blooming Eirene (Peace), who mind the works of mortal men, and the Moirai (Fates) to whom wise Zeus gave the greatest honour, Clotho, and Lachesis, and Atropos who give mortal men evil and good to have."

Translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White in Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA USA) and William Heinemann LTD (London England), Loeb Classical Library, 1914.  We are using the 1936 edition where this quotation can be found on p. 145.

This parentage is also confirmed by Apollódohros (Apollodorus; Gr. Ἀπολλόδωρος) Vivliothíki (Bibliotheca or Library; Gr. Βιβλιοθήκη) I.III.1:

"By Themis, daughter of Sky, he had daughters, the Seasons, to wit, Peace, Order, and Justice; also the Fates, to wit, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropus..." 

Translated by J. G. Frazer in Apollodorus: The Library, Vol. 1,  Loeb LCL 121, Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA USA and London, England), 1921; we are using the 1990 edition where this quotation can be found on p. 15.

[5] Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. ἩσίοδοςThæogonía (Theogonia; Gr. Θεογονία) 217-222: 

"Also she (ed. Nyx) bare the Destinies and ruthless avenging Fates, Clotho and Lachesis and Atropos, who give men at their birth both evil and good to have, and they pursue the transgressions of men and of Gods: and these Goddesses never cease from their dread anger until they punish the sinner with a sore penalty.."

Translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White in Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA USA) and William Heinemann LTD (London England), Loeb Classical Library, 1914.  We are using the 1936 edition where this quotation can be found on p. 95.

[6] Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. ὈρφεύςTo the Mírai (Moirai or Moerae; Gr. Μοῖραι) Orphic Hymn 59.1-2:

"Daughters of darling Night, much nam'd, draw near,
Infinite Fates, and listen to my pray'r;..."

Translated by Thomas Taylor.  TTSV p. 123. TTS V = Hymns and Initiations, trans. Thomas Taylor. A group of translations originally published variously from 1787-1824; including Neoplatonic Hymns (Philological Quarterly) originally published 1929. All of the translations gathered together in this 2003 edition by The Prometheus Trust (Somerset UK).  Thomas Taylor Series V.


[7] 

Plátohn (Plato; Gr. ΠλάτωνNómi (The Laws; Gr. Νόμοι) Book 12.960e-d, trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892, as found in The Dialogues of Plato, published in 1937, by Random House (New York, NY USA), where this quotation may be found on p. 694.)

[8] 

Orphic Hymn 72 to Týkhi (Tyche; Gr. Τύχη), trans. Thomas Taylor in 1792.

[9] Píndaros (Pindar; Gr. Πίνδαρος) Olympian Ode 12.1, trans. Sir J. E. Sandys, 1915. We are using the 1968 edition entitled The Odes of Pindar, published by William Heinemann (London, England UK) and Harvard Univ. (Cambridge, MA USA), Loeb Classical Library No. 56, where this quotation may be found on p.129.

[10] Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. ἩσίοδοςThæogonía (Theogonia; Gr. Θεογονία) 211-213, trans. Hugh G. Evelyn-White in Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA USA) and William Heinemann LTD (London England), Loeb Classical Library, 1914.  We are using the 1936 edition where this quotation can be found on p. 95.

[11] Aiskhýlos (Aeschylus; Gr. Αἰσχύλος) Promithéfs Bound (Gr. Προμηθεὺς Δεσμώτης) 250-253, trans. Paul Elmer More, 1899. We are using the 1938 edition published by Random House (New York, NY USA) entitled The Complete Greek Drama Vol. One, where this quotation may be found on pp. 134-135.



The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The 
Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς). 



PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as 

, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

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